A bombshell report from Buzzfeed News released on Friday has captured the media's attention. Citing anonymous sources, the report claims that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has evidence that Trump personally instructed Michael Cohen, his former attorney, to lie to Congress about the status of his deal to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow.
The evidence reportedly comes from Cohen's testimony, as well as corroborating documents. Trump pressured Cohen to lie during 10 in-person meetings they had throughout Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign, and authorized Cohen's trip to Russia to meet with President Putin. Cohen admitted to the Mueller investigation that he lied to Congressional intelligence committees when he said that negotiations about the project concluded in January 2016. Cohen reportedly characterized his misleading statements as an attempt to obscure the link between the Moscow Project and Trump and obstruct investigations into Russian election meddling.
Although there are many legal investigations surrounding the president - from his campaign staff's ties to Russia to his financial dealings - this report details the first evidence suggesting his direct involvement in and knowledge of misconduct.
In addition, the report indicates that Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son, Donald Trump Jr., were regularly briefed on the status of the project. This implies that they, too, have mischaracterized their involvement in the deal. Trump Jr. testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his involvement with the deal in September 2017, saying that he was only peripherally aware of the matter.
Since the report broke, the White House has called it false. Trump has called Buzzfeed News "disgraceful" on Twitter, using it as yet another opportunity to attack mainstream media at large. Trump also alleged that Cohen is lying about the Moscow Deal in order to reduce his jail time. A spokesman for the Mueller investigation has also described certain quotes in the Buzzfeed News article as inaccurate - a highly unusual move for the Special Counsel's office, which rarely discusses or discloses any information regarding its confidential investigation. Buzzfeed News says it is standing by its sources and challenged the Mueller investigation to identify which aspects of the report were incorrect. Mueller's office has yet to respond.
In other news, the shutdown continues with no end in sight. The House has now passed a third spending bill that would resolve the problem. There are enough Republicans defecting from the party line that it could technically pass the Senate; however, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to bring it to a vote, as he has done with the prior two bills.
Tensions on Capitol Hill are running high. Democratic House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi called on Trump to cancel his State of the Union address due to the shutdown. Trump, apparently irritated by the suggestion, retaliated by grounding Pelosi's military plane, which was transporting her on an official trip to Europe and Afghanistan. Pelosi has now delayed the trip since Trump publicly revealed her itinerary, which could pose security risks. The White House has now fully canceled the Davos Economic Forum delegation from Trump administration due to the shutdown. Trump had previously announced he would not attend, but planned to send the delegation in his stead.
Lastly, after a North Korean minister paid a diplomatic visit to Washington, Trump is scheduled to meet again with leader Kim Jong Un to discuss denuclearization in late February.